Renewable Energy

Project Description

NCORPEā€™s Board of Directors has voted to move forward with a study on the feasibility for a wind/solar development on the nearly 20,000 acres of NCORPE property in Lincoln County. The land consists of range land and irrigated crop land with current agriculture use leases on some of them. NCORPE is considering allowing the property to be additionally leased for the development, construction and operation of a wind/solar generation facility by a third party.  Existing land uses shall generally remain the same albeit with the addition of wind/solar generation on site.


Wind/Solar Development Project Purpose

An NCORPE wind and/or solar project would increase tax revenue in the county and help school districts.

Request for Proposals

NCORPE has elected to solicit a Request for Proposals concerning wind/solar energy leasing on their property in Lincoln County. NCORPE may further pursue several options, including: acceptance of multiple offers for multiple portions of land, accept one offer for all or part of the land, and reject all offers. To review the NCORPE wind/solar energy project RFP, click here.

Project Process


Frequently Asked Questions

What is NCORPE?

NCORPE, the Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project, is an interlocal agency that was formed in fall 2012 by four Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) (Upper Republican NRD, Middle Republican NRD, Lower Republican NRD, Twin Platte NRD) to increase stream flows in the Republican and Platte Rivers. The agency has purchased irrigated land in Lincoln County, Nebraska and retired it from irrigation so that water can be transported via pipelines and tributaries to the Republican and Platte Rivers. NCORPE guarantees that river flow obligations are met in the Republican and Platte Rivers. Not meeting those obligations, such as the Republican River Compact, would cause severe financial and regulatory penalties along with the permanent shutdown of over 300,000 irrigated acres. In addition to assurances NCORPE provides that interstate and intrastate river flow obligations are met, the project meets these obligations in a way that protects the economy.

Is there a wind energy project planned for NCORPE property?

NCORPE is considering the development of a wind/solar project on NCORPE property. The Board of Directors has voted to move forward with the first phase of a wind energy project. HDR has been hired to provide consultation on the development process for Phases 1 and 1A.

When will a decision be made regarding the wind/solar project?

While schedules are always tentative to change, NCORPE hopes to make a final decision about the wind/solar project by the end of September 2017.

Does NCORPE currently own any wind turbines?

No, NCORPE does not currently own any wind turbines. There has been some discussion about entertaining offers from wind developers to build on NCORPE property. There is no established timeline for this, but NCORPE would be interested in beginning this process if there is interest by developers.

Why is NCORPE considering a wind energy project?

An NCORPE wind and/or solar project would increase tax revenue in the county and help school districts.

How will the land be permitted to be used?

Uses of the NCORPE lands shall be for wind/solar energy conversion, the collection and transmission of wind/solar generated electricity, and the construction and operation of all wind/solar power facilities. Such uses would include the determination of the feasibility of wind/solar energy conversion comprising such studies as wind speed, wind direction, and other meteorological data, and construction, installation, operation, repair, replacement, and use of power distribution and utility lines for wind/solar energy conversion. The lessee shall have the sole exclusive right to use the NCORPE lands for wind/solar energy conversion.

How much does it cost to decommission a wind turbine?

The cost for decommissioning a wind turbine is determined by how much of the structure is needed to be removed. In Nebraska, total removal is not required depending on land use (everything above ground is removed). The decommissioning process and requirements for each structure is determined in the development process. Cost can vary from project to project.

What if I have a grazing management agreement or irrigated agricultural crop lease on these lands?

The individuals associated with grazing management agreements will be notified of this RFP; however, they are not required to comment until a lease is in negotiations. A wind/solar lease would be subject to the grazing management agreement.

What if I have a special use lease, temporary use permit, or right-of-way on these lands?

A wind/solar energy lease would be subject to those leases.

What if I have subsurface rights on these lands?

In most cases, NCORPE owns both the surface and subsurface rights. A wind/solar energy lease would be subject to any existing subsurface lease and the wind/solar energy lease shall not unreasonably interfere with the subsurface use. In such instances where the State does not own the subsurface for state lands offered in this RFP, Nebraska State law would apply.

Will Prairie Chickens be negatively impacted if a wind farm is built in this area?

Like with many man-made structures, birds can occasionally strike wind turbines. Though the occurrence of bird strikes for carefully sited wind turbines is quite low, sufficient care and precaution should be taken to minimize those occurrences. Best practices call for an examination of bird species in the area and the flight patterns of those species, including migration. Using that information, wind turbines can be sited away from the most sensitive and high-traffic areas to avoid possible collisions (Source: AWEA). 

A study from Kansas State University  found that wind energy developments have little effect on greater prairie chickens. The study also reported that female survival rates of the prairie chicken increased after wind turbines were installed. 

Why are Natural Resources Districts getting into a private enterprise project?

While it is not typical of NRDs to invest in private enterprise projects, there is an opportunity for NCORPE to use existing property to generate profits that will help fund NCORPE projects.